Access to northern Minnesota forest becomes leverage in tax law fight

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 28, 2012 - 12:19 AM

A company frustrated by a tax law has put up gates on large swaths of Minnesota forest usually open to the public.

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blackbaySep. 28, 1212:04 AM

"One of the long-term solutions could be for the state to buy a conservation easement on these lands, like they did before on other property owned by Forest Capital and other timber producers,'' Dill said. "But that's going to take time. Rep. Dill don't forget that quite a few of us have leases on these properties. If the state putchases easements I hope you and Sen. Bakk keep us in mind and allow the leases to remain.

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Willy53Sep. 28, 12 6:17 AM

This is a fight that will be waged in evey state if Romney is elected. His intent is to privatize and exploit every piece of public land available, especially BLM land. The presence of National Parks, Wilderness or quasi public lands with access necessity means nothing to Romney. What he is interested in is allowing the industrialization of as much public land as possible. He admitted he "doesn't understand the purpose of public land", land that everyone of us own and use, especially hunters, snowmobilers, hikers, campers and skiers. Think long and hard about this election. Educate yourself as to Romney's and Ryan's policy with respect to public land holdings.

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winn70Sep. 28, 12 7:00 AM

what about using an "easement prescription"? If it has been used for at least "7 years" it is as good as an written easement?

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reidSep. 28, 12 8:00 AM

All land is owned by someone. Just because it is waaay up nort and has no super shopping complex on it doesn't mean that it is open to the public to tamp around on. If the state wants to help keep it open for its citizens to use by coming up with the type of arrangement that had been in place, it is cheaper than the state buying it with the loss off the tax rolls. But don't complain that the owner of the land does with it as he pleases if there is no incentive to keep it open. Maybe some of the millions of dollars used to build the Purple Palace could have been used to allow many many more taxpayers access to recreation and exercise and sport and enjoyment of nature all year round rather than a few ballgames every fall. I guess no one thought of that.

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EleanoreSep. 28, 12 8:53 AM

This isn't about "Tax Law" it's about a petulent company trying to strongarm Minnesota into maintaining a subsidy they wasn't responsible. I'd suggest the easement stratedgy others have proposed.

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tmrichardsonSep. 28, 12 9:04 AM

Where was Dennis when the move to balance the budget--largely orchestrated by the republican majority, but to be fair involving many democrat's compliance as well--decided to shirk the obligation to pay their agreement under this program? Where were the snowmobile clubs, Polaris and Arctic Cat, the tourism industry, and others? This was highly predictable,and a lot of people were asleep at the wheel. There's no possible way to claim they didn't know this might happen either--it was an open threat all along and furthermore many counties openly complained to legislators about it too. Dennis needs to get a bit more savvy about things as well. $80 a cord aspen was at the height of what many timbermen knew to be a period of wild speculation on timber prices. Timber was being bought for 20, 30, 50 dollars more than the average price for many years. Timber companies are in trouble due to declining demand for their product and a broadened, worldwide economy, not a drop in timber value from levels that were temporarily wildly speculative!

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EleanoreSep. 28, 1212:13 PM

If this company is licensed, I'd suggest the next time their license comes up asking them if they'd like a break on the costs or requirements until they are changed by law, in exchange for ceeding these rights to the state. If they don't want to that's fine, and I'd encourage them that the state would appreciate it if at some point in their future interactions with the state, things might be to their advantage to cede the rights. just saying, sky isn't sunny forever for any one.

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jsmart05Sep. 30, 12 4:59 PM

Eleanore---Licensed for what? This is a private company. Why would you think that a private company would want to have snowmobiles and other vehicles using their roads without some compensation? I am surprised that they are allowing ATVs, because they can and do cause a lot of damage. But at any rate, it's their land, they pay taxes on it and according to their agreement in the Sustainable Forestry Incentive....they only have to keep it open to the public for non-motorized travel. Foot travel.

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sadie23Oct. 2, 12 8:23 AM

There is a lot of logging going on right now in that area. The Sheep Ranch Road is being using by massive numbers of logging trucks and other timber cutting equipment. Driving in the area is dangerous and the log truck drivers can easily put you in the ditch. They may be in there logging right into the winter.

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rcarlson5Oct. 2, 12 1:02 PM

Pass a Law that one land owner can not block access to another land owners property if it is the ONLY available access. My closed in property in Arkansas was protected from this problem by Arkansas's law. To protect his property from other's, the land owner, who's property closed mine in, solved the problem by giving me a key to the gate lock.

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